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Many UK dogs 'suffering lungworm'

Wednesday April 6th 2011

A potentially fatal infection for dogs is spreading at an "alarming rate" around Britain, a campaign group has warned.

The Be Lungworm Aware campaign said that last year 37% of vets diagnosed at least one case of lungworm - against 16% in 2008.

The figures, which reinforce the need for people to take out decent Pet Insurance, have prompted animal experts to warn dog owners of the the tell-tale signs of the condition.

Vet Luke Gamble said: "Once a problem seen only in isolated areas, lungworm is spreading at an alarming rate in the UK.

"While dog owners are becoming more aware of lungworm, there is still a real lack of understanding as to the warning signs associated with the condition and how to prevent or treat it."

Signs to look out for in infected dogs are breathing difficulties, lethargy and coughing, according to a spokesman for the campaign. Other signs include weight loss, fits, reduced appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea, weakness, paralysis and persistent bleeding from minor cuts.

Dogs who have eaten common garden slugs and snails carrying the larvae can contract the condition.

Sarah Wright, editor of Your Dog magazine, said: "While lungworm poses a real risk to all dogs, it can be easily treated if caught early enough and with new advances in veterinary medicine, even prevented."

Copyright © Press Association 2011

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